Curiosities of ancient Rome (Other)
The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.
In the Roman period, Lower Silesia was one of the most dynamically operating metallurgical centres in the Barbaricum. One of the largest metallurgical settlements from this period was discovered in Tarchalice (administrative district of Wołów).
During the time of Emperor Constantine I (born on February 27, c. 280 in Nis – present-day Serbia, died May 22, 337; Emperor from 306; during his reign, the Roman Empire was in its heyday), Athanasius the Great (born in 295 in Alexandria, of Greek origin, Patriarch of Alexandria, the most prominent saint of the Catholic Church) was accused of performing magic rituals with the use of a severed hand. That hand was to belong to the Bishop of the Meleznai sect of Thebaida – Arsenius. It was even claimed that the man was murdered in order to get the “handle”.
A synod in Tire (335) was called, with the most eminent bishops of the Empire. They were even introduced to corpus delicti (the subject of the crime), in a wooden box there was an alleged hand of Arsenius. The accusers (Egyptian clergy) were already rubbing their hands. There is evidence, and there should be punishment. Knowing what he was accused of, Athanasius ordered him to bring him, none other than Arsenius himself. Alive, too. Ba, having both hands. In the end, he replied, “Let no one seek for a third hand, for man has received two hands from the Creator and no more“.
Although medieval and ancient alchemy shares many common elements, it is difficult to find a clear continuity between the Greco-Roman and medieval traditions. One of the main differences is that the first one was based mainly on philosophical subjects and hermeticism, while the second one valued higher the experimental contact with the surrounding matter. However, was this really the case? What do we owe to the Greco-Roman alchemists? What does alchemy have to do with the monetary unification of Emperor Diocletian? The answer is in the article below.
Greco-Roman texts provide a great deal of information about the ancients’ views on religious matters, many of which refer to very mundane matters. Often the superstitions of ordinary people from two thousand years ago are present and very popular superstitions. How many people have not stood up at least once with the famous “left leg”? Or vice versa, he ascribed his happiness to his right foot, as did the Germans and the English in their proverbs (“Auf rechten Füssen ist gut stehen” tudzież “Let’s get off on the right foot this year”)?
Bees were special and peculiar to the ancients. Their presence in the myth dates back to times much earlier than Rome. They were of considerable importance in Egyptian and Minoan beliefs. Then they fascinated authors such as Publius Virgil Maro or Pliny the Elder. The bees had a divine element in them and were surrounded by a mystical aura of mystery. It is best expressed by the so-called Bugonia ritual.
A unique epitaph has survived to our times from the tombstone of a certain Soranus – a Batavian (Germanic tribe) soldier serving in the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE). We are not sure if the inscription was written at the request of the deceased or the emperor himself, in exchange for his merits.